South African Expat

Expat Diary: 6 Things I Unexpectedly miss about South Africa

I truly love living in Toronto. But South Africa will always be home, where things are familiar and no Sunday is complete without a braai (barbeque) by the pool. Being a South African expat going on almost 3 years now I have found myself unexpectedly missing the strangest things. Aside from friends and family (which obviously I miss all the time), these are the things I have found myself pining for.

1. Being in the same time zone as my friends and family 

Even though in this modern world it’s easier than ever to stay in touch through Facebook, Skype, WhatsApp etc. A 6 hour time difference between you and everyone back home means there is such a small window in a day when we are all awake and free to just chat. It’s not the same when you have to have weekly catch up calls and be conscious of the fact that when I message my sister with news and, feel like a good chat, she is asleep and will respond when she’s awake and I’m asleep.

2. Chocolate

Moving to Canada I thought I’d be overwhelmed with choice. No. This country seriously lacks a good selection of chocolate. It may look like a fair assortment but it’s really the same thing repeated. I am not a fan of the Cadbury’s chocolate here (it just tastes different). Hershey’s is basically cooking chocolate in a fancy wrapper – that’s not chocolate. Now don’t be alarmed I am not perishing away, thank goodness for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups- they are my lifeline. But a girl needs options! #confessionsofachocoholic 

The chocolate shelf in our local grocer in Toronto

3. Feta Cheese

I know this is an odd one, but here feta cheese is all made of goats milk like the real McCoy, but I don’t fancy goats cheese. I think it tastes like a farmyard and I really don’t want to crumble farmyard flavour over my salad. I miss Clover’s feta cheese made with cow’s milk.

4. My favourite ready meals 

I miss having the freezer stocked with tasty ready-made meals from Woolies. Here in Toronto I have tried the mac & cheese and even sampled the ready to go pizzas from the frozen aisle but they just don’t cut it. Your options are takeout or cook at home which is surprising, as one would think in this fast-paced city, everyone needs a freezer full of ready meals when they just can’t be bothered to cook after a crazy day at work.

5. The Vibrancy and Chaos 

Africa, there is no place like it. The energy, the chaos, the vibrancy of Johannesburg. It’s funny how you don’t notice these things until you leave. William Nicol Drive that has become the main shopping hub for all whilst sitting in traffic, the “make it up as you go along” and “anything goes” attitude. #TIA (This is Africa)

6. Sarcasm

When your president is a political clown and crime is out of control, you learn to look at the humorous side of life (you just have to). In Canada, the stereotypical friendliness reins true for the most part, this also means they are all very polite and try their best not to offend anyone (which is awesome). However, South Africans, who are also by and large very friendly, maintain a healthy streak of biting sarcasm which, as odd as it sounds, I unexpectedly miss.

Are you an expat, what do you miss from home? 

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Tracey Pictor

Tracey is a South African expat living, travelling and working her way around the world with my dear husband and cat.

10 thoughts to “Expat Diary: 6 Things I Unexpectedly miss about South Africa”

  1. I enjoyed this Tracey cause some of the things you miss …..I would not have thought at all. So interesting. Not really surprised about the chocolate though hahaha

  2. I love this. Feel so much more thankful … chocolate, feta cheese and Woolies. They truly are great.

    In a strange way, I too miss the chaos and the sarcasm, and the digital advantages.

    Thankful for the opportunity to be able to see what is so great about South Africa.

    We are not only warm in temperature, but warm at heart {hugs}

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